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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tokina 28-70mm f3.5-4.5 RMC

I don't know what I was thinking when I got this lens. Perhaps the price was the main motivation - a functioning full-frame zoom for 5 euros (~ $6.50). Is it worth the price of a cappuccino and a croissant? Should you buy it? Do you even care to read this review? Let's find out!

Not bad, not good. Wide-open @28mm is probably the worst case scenario, with visible distortion, loss of contrast, and fair resolution

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nikon Lenses: How to Judge Value

Today's article is a bit weird, I admit it. It might confuse you, actually. You see, we often see talks about the best lenses or the worst lenses. But what does value have to do with anything? The idea of this article is to make you think. To make you judge whether you should be getting the best lens or the best value. You see, it's easy to pick Nikon's best lenses if you have $30.000 to waste. There you go:

But the problem is, few of us can do this (there are other factors adding complexity, but let's leave that aside for now). So, what can we do? Simple - and yet infinitely complex: buy not in terms of absolute quality, but in terms of value. In good ol' layman's terms: best bang for the buck.

Choosing a lens should be connected not with how great it is, but with how useful it is to you

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Photoshop Tutorial: How to Correct Bad Bokeh

Can you fix bad bokeh? Yes, with this very simple and powerful Photoshop tutorial I am showing you today. If you remember what I said on my article on bokeh, it's a both-good-and-bad-news situation:
Well, unfortunately (or fortunately, if you wanna see the glass half-full), each lens has its very own physical characteristics (mostly related to the aperture blades design) which seal its...bokeh fate before it even reaches your hands. Some lens have superb bokeh, others don't.
One of the most infamous examples is the old AF-D Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 (as well as the AF-D 85mm f/1.8). Especially closed-down couple of stops, its bokeh is highly intrusive and distracting. Often to the point that it renders a photo unusable. Of course, the best solution is to use a lens that offers you crazy-good bokeh at all situations. It doesn't even have to be expensive (the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 is what comes to mind). But what if you have a not-so-great bokeh on an existing image?

I've been experimenting with a lot of techniques, looking for the best possible results with the least amount of work. Today's procedure is the outcome. Of course, remember that there are no perfect solutions. We're trying to improve things, not to make them flawless. Some photos and some bokehs are easier to fix than others (hint: it's easier when you have a well-defined, in-focus subject with a clearly out-of-focus background; more difficult when parts of the subject are out-of-focus and/or the background/surroundings are in different stages of out-of-focus).

It takes as little as 5 minutes, and it can be a life-saver